The Kickstarter campaign read: When her daughter died from a preventable medical condition, businesswoman Amy Vilela of Las Vegas didn't know what to do with her anger about America's broken health care system. Bronx-born Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to work double shifts in a restaurant to save her family’s home from foreclosure after losing her father. Cori Bush, a Saint Louis nurse, was drawn into the streets when the shooting of Michael Brown brought protests and tanks into her neighborhood. Paula Jean Swearengin buried family and neighbors to illnesses caused by West Virginia’s coal industry — and worries her children will be next. All four women understood that their lives were affected by politics, but none had considered running for office themselves. Until now.
424 backers pledged $28,111 to help bring the documentary ‘Knock Down The House: A Documentary’ to life. Created by Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick, ‘Knock Down The House’ won the Sundance’s Festival Favorite Award, a fact that most certainly impacted the recent sale of all distribution rights to the film to Netflix for $10 million. Deadline reports that NEON, Focus, Hulu and Amazon were also vying for the feature
Hyperallergic profiles the film, writing that Lears has a good eye and sharp instincts in her decision to shadow Ocasio Cortez’s campaign even before she filed her nomination.
On one hand, through Ocasio Cortez’s campaign, Lears’ pragmatic lens reveals the very foundation on which America was built: a land that epitomized countless possibilities and equal opportunities for just about anyone. And on the other, she mines Ocasio Cortez’s solitary – and toilsome – win to anchor the frustrations of the “process” that fails the other three candidates.
The film has many bittersweet moments that deal with rejections, and it refuses to use AOC’s win to suggest that the door is wide open for women candidates. On a call, Ocasio Cortez consoles Villela after her loss with a “It’s just the reality that for one of us to make it, a thousand of us have to try.” It’s the same wisdom she passes on to her niece while handing out flyers, “For every 10 rejections, you get one acceptance, and that’s how you win everything” and by extension, the awareness that the film wishes to pass down to its audience.
The system is designed to hold outsiders at bay, concludes Hyperallergic. Being jazzed by AOC’s win is fantabulous. But without huge, systemic changes in the American system, it’s tough to see how real change happens. Still, #SHE PERSISTED!